In a classic case of justice being held hostage to procedural delays and plain official apathy, it took a dubbing producer from Chennai 20 years to prove his innocence.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, S.N.S. Rawat, accused of including porn clippings in a film (Aag aur Shabab), said, "For two decades, I travelled from Chennai to Delhi, to face trial in a false case. It took 20 years for the court to realise my innocence."
The semantics of 'prosecution' altered and became 'persecution' for Rawat.
For 20 years, Delhi Police crime branch officials blamed Rawat for including pornographic clippings during the premiere of Aag aur Shabab (a south Indian film, dubbed into Hindi), at Rachna cinema hall.
However, the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Sunil Chaudhary acquitted Rawat, since Censor Board officials did not examine the film for explicit content, in the last two decades.
The judge said, "The testimony of the prosecution witnesses does not establish the fact that the film contained obscene scenes and was being screened without a certificate issued by the Censor Board."
ACMM Chaudhary said, "The prosecution is not able to prove that the seized print of the film being screened at the Rachna cinema was sent to the Censor Board."
The judge further said that the Censor Board Committee did not examine the print to see if there had been any alteration or interpolation.
Police had, in May 1991, raided the Rachna cinema hall and seized reels of Aag aur Shabab, alleging it had pornographic clippings.
A case under the Cinematograph Act was lodged against Rawat and four of his associates.
However, on July 30, the court acquitted all the accused in the case.